Construction accident lawyers in NYC explain why scaffolding accidents happen
What’s the best way to prevent scaffolding accidents, especially when it comes to construction accidents? By providing construction workers with scaffolding safety training, according to the New York City Department of Buildings, which recently issued a safety alert reminding workers about the importance of such training.
“Facade work performed on scaffolding can be extremely dangerous,” the alert states, according to Safety + Health magazine. “And proper care must be taken at all times to prevent death or serious injury.”
So, how common are scaffolding accidents? What does the scaffolding safety training in New York involve? And why do scaffolding accidents often occur? Below, you can learn more about this important workplace safety issue.
How common are scaffolding accidents?
Thousands of people are injured or killed in scaffolding accidents each year nationwide. On average, an estimated 60 people are killed and an additional 4,500 workers are injured in scaffolding-related accidents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
And when it comes to scaffolding accidents, New York City has more than its fair share. Whether it’s falling from scaffolding or a scaffolding collapse, these types of accidents often result in serious injuries or fatalities.
In particular, work-related falls from a height accounted for 46.8 fatalities statewide each year on average between 2016 and 2020, according to the BLS. Of those fatalities, 16.2 deaths (34.6 percent) occurred in New York City.
What scaffolding safety training do workers receive in New York?
The New York City Department of Buildings recently offered scaffolding workers a series of safety tips designed to prevent scaffolding accidents. According to Health + Safety magazine, employers should:
- Familiarize workers with their equipment before working on scaffolding.
- Provide workers with protective equipment designed to prevent them from falling off scaffolding. This is especially true if workers are performing their job duties on supported scaffolding with no guardrails.
- Warn workers about the dangers often associated with certain scaffolding work, including removing coping stones or other types of stones used to cap freestanding walls.
- Make sure parapet walls adjacent to demolition work are stable. In particular, parapet walls should be demolished from the coping down.
- Instruct workers to notify supervisors immediately if they notice any loose material that could fall off a building. This is especially important at worksites involving brickwork or chimney work.
- Properly secure all tarps and temporary weather protection equipment near scaffolding.
These are just some of the safety recommendations from the New York City Department of Buildings, but the important thing to remember is that companies need to provide scaffolding workers with the necessary safety training.
Why do accidents happen on scaffolding?
Scaffolding accidents often occur because employers fail to take necessary precautions. Common examples include:
- Improperly assembled scaffolding
- Improperly secured scaffolding
- Forcing employees to work on scaffolding during hazardous weather conditions
- Not providing workers with scaffolding safety training
- Not providing workers with scaffolding safety equipment
What laws exist in New York to protect scaffolding workers?
New York has very specific laws designed to protect people who work on scaffolding. This includes Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law, which provides protections for construction workers working on scaffolding.
Often referred to as the Scaffold Law, New York State Labor Law 240 involves "the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing of a building or structure." This law contains precise rules and regulations governing scaffolding or other "elevation-related hazards" in New York.
If you've been injured on the job, you have rights that need to be protected
Cases involving scaffolding accidents can be highly contested and complicated. And when you've been hurt at work, the last thing you should try to do is navigate the road to recovery on your own. Remember, employers and insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their best interests. That's why you need an experienced attorney on your side looking out for yours.
At the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, our New York City scaffolding accident lawyers have years of experience and know which legal strategies work best. Let us handle your case and fight for the compensation you're entitled to.
Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation. We have 12 offices conveniently located throughout New York, including five offices in New York City.